With 2018 coming to an end in a few weeks, it makes sense to ask a serious question, is there hope on the horizon for the 2019 Chicago White Sox? While things may seem bleak after the news of Michael Kopech’s forthcoming Tommy John surgery, could it actually be the year when the White Sox begin to turn things around?
Even though Kopech will not be on the mound next year, it is unlikely to keep others from making their way to Guaranteed Rate Field. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez is a near lock, starting pitcher Dylan Cease and the somewhat forgotten catcher Zack Collins are also likely headed for Chicago. These players wouldn’t push them into October by themselves, but could they energize the fanbase more?
The answer to that is absolutely, especially when you think about how the club’s pipeline to the majors dried up for some time. The aforementioned names are not the only future Sox who may see Chicago in 2019, as countless other less-known minor leaguers could see time on the South Side.
Here is another issue that has not been talked about quite as much, proven major leaguers. If you take a look at the upcoming free agent class, bargains will be a plenty as many big market teams focus on Manny Machado, Bryce Harper and Patrick Corbin. So if the club wants to sign a fallen star such as Josh Donaldson for a reduced rate, it wouldn’t be shocking when you look at the monstrous deals some stars in their prime are receiving.
So could a collection of fallen stars looking to revitalize their careers mixed with elite prospects potentially contend? That is unknown at the moment, and when you take the Kopech injury into consideration, the Sox chances of playing meaningful games in September drops even more. But, if enough reclamation projects stay healthy, .500 is a very reasonable goal (this may not be general managers Rick Hahn’s strategy though).
Prior to putting a bow on this piece, it seems likely that the process will begin to head in the direction of putting pieces on the field that will bring a winner to Guaranteed Rate Field instead of tearing down what is left of the old core. This is when the fun starts, as trades and signings that ship players out instead of moves to bring them to the South Side start. So, no more scorching the earth from Hahn and his team.
All in all, this offseason should be an interesting one to follow as soon as it begins. We will have to wait for the postseason to conclude, but the sheer quantity and quality of talent for the Sox to bring in for the long-term should be there for the taking. If they take the right pieces, Sox fans might just experience several deep playoff runs. Let’s hope they do it right for the franchise’s sake, Sox fans.
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